De Havilland issued a statement on Monday, saying she was “shocked and saddened” by the news of fellow Oscar-winning actress Fontaine’s death, adding that she was grateful for “the many kind expressions of sympathies.”
According to the Daily Mail, the almost 97-year-old “Gone With the Wind” actress and her late sister barely spoke to each other while Fontaine was alive. De Havilland currently resides in Paris. Despite the sisters’ long-time feud, one of De Havilland’s friends observed, “Joan was her kid sister – of course she’s hugely sad at her passing. She’s certainly in mourning and has made it clear that she will never forget Joan.”
Both talented siblings were nominated for the best actress Oscar in 1941, and Fontaine won for her role in the movie, “Suspicion.” Fontaine’s win triggered memories of the sisters’ animosity towards each other.
“All the animus we'd felt toward each other as children, the hair-pullings, the savage wrestling matches, the time Olivia fractured my collarbone, all came rushing back in kaleidoscopic imagery,” she wrote her memoir. “My paralysis was total. I felt Olivia would spring across the table and grab me by the hair. I felt age 4, being confronted by my older sister. Damn it, I'd incurred her wrath again!”
Fontaine died in her sleep Sunday at her home in Carmel, Calif. She was 96.